Sun Slams IBM over x86 Decision - Page 2

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-01-17 Print this article Print

Singer said Sun CEO Scott McNealy told him of a recent conversation he had with IBM Chairman and CEO Sam Palmisano, who told him that IBM no longer has to support an environment that includes Sun, even if it is one that is best for the customer.

"That behavior smells monopolistic. Withholding support for industry-leading platforms which are not IBMs own smacks of that," Singer said. "IBM has announced all its support for Linux and continues to sell [its Unix-based] AIX [operating system] and other proprietary systems. They do more volume on their own proprietary systems, but they make the market think they are being open by supporting Linux."

But IBMs Eisenstadt rejected that, saying that one just had to look at all the platforms that IBM supported to know it was patently untrue.

Singer said that IBM has long supported Solaris for its enterprise software applications, including DB2, Informix, Lotus, Tivoli and WebSphere, all of which run on Solaris 8 and 9. Now they will run on Solaris 10 for SPARC but not on x86.

"The reason we are moving to Solaris on x86 is that customers are demanding choice for where they run their enterprise applications, and by IBM doing this they are restricting customer choice," Singer said. "The code base for Solaris on x86 and SPARC is exactly the same. Its a simple recompile. But what they are not agreeing to do is test and certify. Its not a matter of not being able to run it."

Linux had emerged as a way to free-market economics of the x86 platform and was essentially an attack on RISC architecture, Singer said. Customers were seeing that they could use the low-cost x86 platforms to do the same type of work done on RISC without the security exposure and scalability issues they had with Windows, he said.

GMs Scott said x86 is a very viable enterprise platform along with Solaris, which has the highest quality of all the Unix-based operating systems.

"We like the x86 platform and the ability it brings to scale out," Scott said.

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Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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